Even if you haven't heard of Ryan Tedder before, you'll probably have noticed his name in the sleevenotes of your favourite popstrel's hit single or album. As one of the hottest songwriters in the game right now, Tedder's production and composition credits include hits by Leona Lewis, J-Lo and Natasha Bedingfield.
It'll come as no shock, then, that his 9-5 grind of composing radio-friendly modern pop tunes is supplemented by his own band, OneRepublic - a band who unsurprisingly compose radio-friendly modern alt-rock tunes. The Colorado-formed five-piece first came centre-stage last year, when the omnipotent Timbaland remixed their song Apologize and released it as a single from his successful Shock Value album.
Being touched by the latter-day King Midas of music certainly hasn't harmed OneRepublic's reputation, nor their profile - but if you're expecting more of the same refined hip-pop on Dreaming Out Loud, look away now. OneRepublic write songs that fans of Maroon 5, The Goo Goo Dolls, The Fray and Orson will appreciate: insipid pop-rock ballads that rarely vary in tone or style (90% of tracks here are mid-tempo, bittersweet 'epics' that start slowly and build to an AOR-emblazoned crescendo). Tedder's constantly overwrought vocals - a cross between Adam Levine and Justin Timberlake - attest to the negative power of Jeff Buckley's influence, while even the lyrics are about as challenging as a Funday Times crossword with half of the answers filled in.
The tagged-on remix of Apologize belatedly attempts to inject an adrenaline shot into the lifeless, greying carcass of this album, but it's already too late. This genre, essentially boyblands masquerading as real musicians, reached saturation point a long time ago. This is music for people who don't like having opinions.